Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good fences...make good neighbours

Ah, the joy of meeting the neighbours. We haven't yet. But as Robert Frost so aptly pointed out: Good fences make good neighbors.  (Frost is one of my favourites, by the way).

Our place in Brooklyn was quiet with great neighbours. It was a private brownstone - the owners lived on the top three floors and we lived on the ground floor. It was ideal and we loved it for the eight years we lived there. I STILL miss it daily. All of the neighbours were friendly, we knew them all by name and liked each and every one. Heavy sigh - we had hit the jackpot.

Our last building here in London had thin walls. Even though the place was small it was sort of quiet. The Russians (we love to assign monikers to people - it's practically sport 'round here) who lived above us were quiet enough -  however they complained to everyone in the building about making noise. They got on my case for running the washer/dryer too late at night so I never did laundry in the evenings (to be fair the thing would rattle like a locomotive). But they are universally disliked for it.

The gay couple (the Great Gays) across the hall were quiet and kept to themselves unless the alarm went off (and it went off plenty), then they would bitch out anyone within earshot.

We had a perfect family, quiet, reserved and polite (The Beavers), the crazy lady (Shriek Owl) who lived next door who screeched at delivery men who rang all the doorbells and freaked out on others for a myriad of issues (and she's a yoga instructor - hmmm).

Then there were the rude French folks (Frenchie) and a few others who we actually liked (one family - the Loud Americans are actually good friends).

The point being - we fit right in, liked everyone and made it work.

Now we're in a new building and we know absolutely no one. I love it.

The people across the hall have a newborn who cries ALL the time. My heart breaks for whoever lives there. I've seen about five different people coming and going with their own keys so I haven't a clue as to who the baby belongs to. You can only hear it if you're near the door or in the hallway - thank heavens because the last thing I need to to be kept awake by someone else's crying baby.

Then there is 'The Crone'  - a cantankerous woman in her early to mid 60's who is the self-appointed hall monitor. She barked at our movers to close the doors once they were done, she called animal control to catch the raggedy fox that made it's way out back (poor thing), and she tossed Fen's shoes in front of our door (I told him to get them out of the dressing room because they smelled and he put them outside the flat so I can't say I blame her for that one - and I promised to try and control my wild and troublesome husband in the future).  This evening the Frat Boys (who live above us - in late 20's and surprisingly quiet) left two beer bottles on the wall in front pathway and she growled at them to pick them up. I snickered behind my curtains at that exchange.

We have The Nakeds next to us. One night, last week I went into our bedroom to shut the curtains and didn't turn on the light (because I don't want the neighbours looking at me) and saw both him and her in their knickers hanging in the kitchen. Yikes!

So far I haven't formally met any of them. And that's fine with me. The walls are thick, the ceilings are high and the curtains are shut. Works for me!


  1. This was fun to read.. We live in the burbs..George on our right or "say no to crack" as we call him..likes to ride his lawnmower with his crack showing...John and Linda to our left..also known as the "Vampires"..only come out after dark and are casper white and we live in sunny Florida..


  2. This is so funny! We do not know any of our neighbors, but they all seem very nice. My mom however has the worst neighbors, mean nasty old people. I agree with the fence quote.

  3. What I want to know is what everyone is calling YOU! :-)

  4. @Anonymous - hilarious - the vampires!
    @Elizabeth - is it a right of passage to be mean when you're old? I need to know.
    @Frau Fancy - I'm sure they are calling me the Ref or the Loud American because all I do all day is yell for Cate to get off X, or to brush her teeth, or to go to bed. Maybe the Nakeds call me The Voyeur since I seem to be looking through my window every night (and being blinded each time)

  5. In our old house, we were forced into a very 'friendly' situation with our new next-door neighbours. Their builders knocked down an internal wall, which created a big hole in the wall between our sitting rooms! One way to get to know your new neighbours I suppose!...

  6. This post made me laugh a little - I recently moved into an apartment complex in Asheville, NC, which definitely caters to the college crowd. I'm in college too, but I'm kind of over the all night partying and leaving beer bottles littering the steps. As far as I can tell, the other three apartments on my floor in my building are filled with stoners who literally lay on the steps, at all hours of the day. Nice enough people, but ya know..

    Last weekend, I was heading out for an early morning workout and came across a couple spooning on one of the lower landings in a sleeping bag. It's an interesting place :)

  7. It's even more interesting when you live in an apartment building and you're the landlord.....then you're always snooping on people, and judging their 3am showers, and wishing they'd close the curtains, and hang on, what happened to the chuffing curtains etc etc

  8. Brilliant! This is like a diary of my 15 years in London, except for our flat in Notting Hill where the 50-plus yoga teacher upstairs who found her ultimate paramour - and the floors were really thin. I was happy for her, but it was all too much...

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. Hi! I like your blog! It has useful information.

    I am following your blog. I ask kindly that you visit and follow my blog as well.

    Success to you!


    Claudia Paiva (Anunciando e Reciclando)


Go ahead, make my day!